Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Being Invisible (with links)

I was planning to write a blog post called "The Cloak of Invisibility," but I realized that I wrote a post with a similar name in 2016! I was going to talk about the strange and secret joy of being invisible at a performance where nobody in the audience has any idea who wrote the music they are listening to, but I did that in 2007. And I even used the idea of invisibility in a piece, and wrote a post two years ago about a performance.

So what has changed in 2021? My previous feelings about invisibility were always fraught with sadness. Now I am starting to see that it is something that I may actually seek out through the work I do. Now I see that I shy away from exposing myself too much, and that I feel a sense of comfort and even protection in the barriers that have surrounded me since childhood. (In a "normal" family it would be called "middle child syndrome," but I don't really have a window into a family with more than two children besides my own family of origin.)

I think that there is a point in adulthood when we can cast a bright light on the habits of personality that we devloped in childhood, and accept them for the parts that are self-sustaining, instead of rejecting them as "things" we need to change in order to find happiness and balance as adults. We each have our own coping mechanisms, and we each have our own timeframe for putting childish things behind us, and moving on.

But perhaps some of the ways of coping that we discovered in childhood are good personal tools for finding our own paths to happiness. Escaping circumstances (current in childhood as well as current in adulthood) through literature, art, drama, dance, and music, are a few that come to mind. And those mechanisms, in my case, don't necessarily correspond to being "seen." But they do have a way of helping me see myself, and accept who I happen to be.

I feel, in a way, that I am more comfortable when I am not so visible. When playing music I am happy to let what is in the music out, and to serve as a vehicle for that. I want to improve my sound, intonation, and phrasing to do just that. What more is there, anyway?

I do feel happy when people express thanks for things that I share with them musically, but what makes me actually happy is the idea that people who have had trouble with shifting, odd keys, and getting their students to practice scales, are able to use my work to break down their own technical and musical barriers. What makes me actually happy is that people can find the music I write and the arrangements I make useful pathways for their own expression and connections with other musicians and people who enjoy listening.

And I'm grateful to have a nice invisible way to share my thoughts about music on this blog, and am grateful to make invisible connections to other musicians in faraway places.

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